There's literally no common theme here

29. Capercaille, At the Heart of It All (album, 2013)
30. Lau, Race the Loser (album, 2012)
31. Harry Harris, Andre the Giant EP (EP, 2017)
32. *Elizabeth Zimmermann, Knitting Without Tears (nonfiction book, 1971)
33. The Shape of Water (film, dir. Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
34. The Belle's Stratagem (play, dir. Tony Cowrie, adapted from Hannah Cowley's original)
35. Peatbog Fairies, Dust (album, 2011)

You probably want to hear my opinion on The Shape of Water. It was weird, it was very pretty, it was fun but apparently less substantial than a lot of people were expecting. That's fair. I'm not wedded to substance. I once read that a romance story is one where the A-narrative (the main plot) and the B-narrative (the relationship subplot) are swapped. That holds true here: from a structural standpoint I think it's better to look at TSoW like that, as a story where the plot you expect to be at the front is actually at the back, and vice versa. If you want an allegory about the state of the world, you can find one, but it's going to be disappointing to you. Romance stories don't have to expand upon a fundamental truth about the world, just like crime novels don't, sci fi doesn't, horror doesn't. They can do that, but equally they can just do their own schtick. So there.

Musically this week, I am continuing with my slow-burn love affair with the voice of Kris Drever - Race the Loser is spectacular, I've listened to it through three times this week and every time I like it more. I've also finally got around to Harry Harris's most recent EP - Harry wrote the music for Past Tense. Speaking of people whose musical talent is like a luminous little object I hold in my hands. Re the Peatbog Faeries, Dust isn't as good as Faerie Stories, but it'll still do.

I first read Knitting Without Tears circa 2008, about the time I was really heavily getting into knitting. Elizabeth Zimmermann is one of those writers who speaks to you (or, to me) through the ages - she's like Naomi Mitchison, or G. H. Hardy, George Orwell, Dorothy Sayers, whose work I reread whenever I want to think hard and feel capable. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology and Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears fall into the same category for me because they're both books I read as a late teenager, ostensibly about obscure-ish interests but really about how it feels to love your work and do creative things. I think everyone should read both of them, but I know they'll probably get scared off by the prospect of maths and knitting. That's okay. I'll champion them if I get the chance, and in the meantime I hold them both very close to me.

Other things I've read/seen/heard this week: about 50% of the Colin Firth film The Mercy, which is less interesting a story than it might have been if it had dared have a bit more bite; an awful lot of electroswing music while walking places very fast; a metric ton of Critical Role. I'm pretty sure that in 2017 I learned more about compelling storytelling from Matt Mercer & co than from anyone else, quite possibly put together.